It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.

New York Times, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Author:
Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1211/13/20129/19/201712
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3151200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58131
Don Gagliardo
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5611/13/20129/21/201819
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
519165452
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 79, Blocks: 37 Missing: none – this is a pangram. Spans: 1 Grid has mirror symmetry. This is puzzle # 9 for Mr. Gagliardo. This is puzzle # 28 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
Don: There is no memorable inspiration for this puzzle. It probably grew out of thinking about alphabetic order. Why not just order ... read more

Don: There is no memorable inspiration for this puzzle. It probably grew out of thinking about alphabetic order. Why not just order the consonants? The "how" of it proved to be more challenging than one might first imagine.

It was decided to confine alphabetically-ordered letters in sequences of words that fill entire rows. We did not know how many rows this would take. It turns out that three were enough. Designing a grid was a challenge. We ended up having to use a grid with right-left symmetry.

An experienced solver can tell just looking at the grid that we're up to something difficult, since there are not many long answers and the top corners are very simple in design. The word ALPHABETIZATION worked well as a reveal answer for the theme, a nice 15 to cross the grid.

C.C.: We accidentally put SRS in 44-Across spot (where ORS is) in our submitted grid. Thankfully Will & Joel caught our goof and redid that section of the grid.

Jeff Chen notes:
I highlighted the appropriate letters below, to make this puzzle's theme stand out — the consonants in rows three, six, and nine ... read more

I highlighted the appropriate letters below, to make this puzzle's theme stand out — the consonants in rows three, six, and nine appear in alphabetical order, reading from left to right and top to bottom. Like Don mentioned, I had an inkling something was up when I saw HOJO, and then again when running into the awkward abbreviation ELIZ. Given the very tough theme constraints, having just those two rough spots is pretty darn good.

PELLA? Sure, why not.

I got stuck in the bottom, having plunked in ALPHABETIC ORDER. That seemed not as perfect as ALPHABETICAL ORDER, but the former is too long for a 15x15 grid. When I finally ripped out ALPHABETIC ORDER, I sorely wanted ALPHABETIZED. ALPHABETIZATION is a word, to be sure, but it felt awkward as a revealer.

I went back and stared at the 21 critical letters after I finished. There is something interesting about the concept, although it feels somewhat inelegant, given the random vowels strewn about to make it work.

Perhaps it would have seemed nicer if all those consonants were spaced in exactly every other column? As it was, it felt like those consonants were placed wherever they needed to be to make it work. Granted, it's a tough constraint to get those consonants in ALPHABETIZATION order, but I would have liked some extra layer of elegance.

Still, I enjoy seeing concepts I haven't seen before, and I definitely had not seen something quite like this.

Some notable clues:

  • PELLA appears to be a big name in windows. Perhaps it'll be a gimme to homeowners who have redone their windows?
  • Loved the clue for COOK, [Pan handler] repurposing "panhandler" so innocently.
1
B
2
O
3
M
4
B
5
A
6
T
7
A
8
L
9
L
10
A
11
T
12
M
13
S
14
O
D
I
E
15
D
E
T
O
O
16
C
O
O
K
17
B
O
C
A
18
D
E
F
O
G
19
H
O
J
O
20
O
N
A
D
21
I
E
T
22
S
I
23
S
E
N
O
R
24
T
R
I
25
B
E
C
A
26
K
27
O
28
A
29
L
A
30
M
E
N
31
P
32
I
33
Q
34
U
35
E
36
A
M
I
E
37
S
E
N
S
38
E
39
D
U
L
L
40
T
A
R
G
41
E
T
42
D
43
A
S
A
N
I
44
O
R
S
45
T
O
46
V
47
W
A
X
48
Y
A
Z
49
H
O
M
E
50
G
A
M
E
51
S
52
S
53
P
54
C
A
55
P
S
A
T
S
56
A
57
M
58
F
59
M
60
L
E
A
S
61
T
62
P
I
K
63
F
L
O
R
A
64
A
L
P
H
A
65
B
E
T
I
66
Z
A
T
I
O
N
67
S
L
E
E
P
E
R
68
N
O
W
O
R
S
E
69
H
A
R
D
E
E
S
70
S
O
N
N
E
T
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0322 ( 24,241 )
Across
1. Fail big-time : BOMB
5. To any degree : ATALL
10. Cash caches, briefly : ATMS
14. "Garfield" drooler : ODIE
15. Artoo-___ : DETOO
16. Pan handler : COOK
17. ___ Raton, Fla. : BOCA
18. Clear, in a way : DEFOG
19. Once-popular roadside chain, familiarly : HOJO
20. Losing some love handles, say : ONADIET
22. "Yes sir" overseas : SISENOR
24. Manhattan neighborhood next to SoHo : TRIBECA
26. ___ bear : KOALA
30. Maxim magazine's intended audience : MEN
31. Arouse, as curiosity : PIQUE
36. French female friend : AMIE
37. The "common" sort is said to be not so common : SENSE
39. Yawn-provoking : DULL
40. Walmart competitor : TARGET
42. Fiji competitor : DASANI
44. Where scrubs are worn, for short : ORS
45. "Mazel ___!" : TOV
47. Floor coat : WAX
48. Bosox great Carl, familiarly : YAZ
49. They're never away : HOMEGAMES
52. Pet lovers' org. : SPCA
55. Precollege exams : PSATS
56. Car radio button : AMFM
60. Tiniest bit : LEAST
62. Commercial ending with Water : PIK
63. Botanist's specialty : FLORA
64. One way of ordering things, like all the consonants in rows three, six and nine : ALPHABETIZATION
67. Unexpected hit : SLEEPER
68. Just as good : NOWORSE
69. Sister fast-food chain of Carl's Jr. : HARDEES
70. Browning's "How Do I Love Thee?" and others : SONNETS
Down
1. Common clown name : BOBO
2. Consume too much of, in brief : ODON
3. Sheet rock? : MICA
4. Rosary part : BEAD
5. Puff ___ : ADDER
6. Golf reservation : TEETIME
7. Org. shifted to the Dept. of Justice in 2003 : ATF
8. Eases : LOOSENS
9. Sudoku solver's need : LOGIC
10. Arthritis symptom : ACHE
11. SpongeBob or Scooby-Doo : TOON
12. Self-confidence, slangily : MOJO
13. Hershey toffee bar : SKOR
21. "Give ___ rest!" : ITA
23. Easy mark : SAP
25. Title rat of a 1972 film : BEN
26. Bruce Lee's role in TV's "The Green Hornet" : KATO
27. Longtime Sudanese president ___ al-Bashir : OMAR
28. Puts on TV : AIRS
29. One of six for an insect : LEG
32. Fingers, as a perp : IDS
33. Where ships get loaded : QUAY
34. Bone below the elbow : ULNA
35. Part of QE2: Abbr. : ELIZ
37. Defeat soundly : STOMP
38. Red-coated cheeses : EDAMS
41. D.D.E.'s charge in W.W. II : ETO
43. Timber feller : AXE
46. Sunset prayer service : VESPERS
47. New York's ___ Glen State Park : WATKINS
49. Discussed, with "out" : HASHED
50. Trot or canter : GAIT
51. California's ___ Sea : SALTON
52. Cut drastically, as prices : SLASH
53. Big name in windows : PELLA
54. Lark : CAPER
57. Wavy-patterned fabric : MOIRE
58. Concern for a fall gardener : FROST
59. Thick locks : MANES
61. 3M product : TAPE
63. Be a toady : FAWN
65. Stinger : BEE
66. Workplace for some veterinarians : ZOO

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?